‘It is one of those faces’, by R.S. Thomas

It is one of those faces
beginning to disappear
as though life were at work
with its eraser. It drizzles
at the window through which
I regard it. As one realising
its peril, it accosts me
in silence at every corner
of my indifference, appealing
to me to save it gratuitously
from extinction. There was a moment
it became dear to me, a skull
brushed by a smile as the sun
brushes a stone through ravelled
passages in the hill mist.
Must I single it with a name?
I am coming to believe,
as I age, so faithful its attendance
upon the eye’s business, it is myself
I court; that this face, vague
but compelling, is a replica
of my own face hungry for meaning
at life’s pane, but blearing it
over as much with my shortness
of faith as of breath.

– R.S. Thomas, Counterpoint (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1990), 46.

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